Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to develop a stronger inside view on AI safety research agendas.
As part of this quest, I’ve been having conversations with AI safety researchers. I notice myself often asking the following questions:
I find Question #1 useful for starting the conversation and introducing me to the person’s worldview.
I find Question #2 useful for getting clearer (and often more detailed) explanations of the person’s understanding of the alignment problem & how their work fits in. (Note that this is somewhat redundant with question #1, but I find that the questions often yield different answers).
I find Question #3 useful for starting to develop an inside view on the research agenda & the person’s reasoning abilities. (Note that the point is to see how the person reasons about the question. I’m not looking for a “right answer”, but I am looking to see that someone has seriously thought about this and has reasonable takes.)
I find Question #4 useful for building stronger models of AI safety community-building.
I also ask a lot of follow-up questions. But I find that these are the four questions that I ask nearly everyone, and I think they’ve helped me develop a stronger inside view.
If I had to pick one question, I would probably ask #3. I think it’s a rather challenging question, and I’m generally impressed when people have coherent answers.